Tropical Storm Alberto: What Is Potential Storm's Path and When Will It Hit?

Hurricane season is almost upon us—and the first of some of the season's severe weather is already churning near the Gulf of Mexico. An area of low pressure near Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula could morph into a tropical storm in the coming days.

Should the weather pattern become a full-fledged storm, with winds of at least 39 miles per hour, it would be named Tropical Storm Alberto. Alberto would mark the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic season.

The National Weather Service said there was a 90 percent chance of it becoming a subtropical or tropical cyclone in the Gulf by the weekend. The odds have increased since the storm began brewing. Even if the weather pattern doesn't become a full-blown storm, rainfall will still hit local regions in the coming days. Heavy rains were expected in western Cuba, Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into next week. Other parts of the South would likely be affected as well. Rainfall could reach up to 6 inches in parts of Florida up to the Carolinas, reported.

"This system could also bring tropical storm force winds and storm surge to portions of the northern Gulf Coast by late this weekend or early next week," the National Hurricane Center warned. "In addition, the threat of rip currents will steadily increase along the Gulf Coast from Florida westward to Louisiana over the Memorial Day weekend."

An Air Force Reserve aircraft was expected to further investigate the weather pattern Friday, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Hurricane season—officially beginning June 1 and lasting until the end of November—was expected to be near or above average this year, the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Thursday. In that time, NOAA estimated there would be between 10 and 16 named storms—storms with sustained wind speeds of at least 39 miles per hour, a NOAA spokesperson told Newsweek. The forecast also predicted anywhere from five to nine hurricanes, with one to four of them categorized as "major."

The 2017 hurricane season brought a number of disastrous storms, including Harvey, Irma and Maria. The storms caused some $200 billion in damage to regions including Texas and the Caribbean, according to an NOAA estimate. Some places, like Puerto Rico, were still working to recover from last season even as this season was almost underway. An official count said at least 100 people died from the storms, though reports suggest that number is exponentially higher.

Tropical Storm Alberto
An area of low pressure near Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula could turn into a tropical storm in the coming days. NWS